An introduction to the C.H.O.I.C.E. Model

George Box, statistician

"All models are wrong, some are useful."

The idea of behavioral science models is not new. After the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness was released, designers and marketers began applying behavioral science and psychology, but often without a systematic approach. 

That's why I've created the C.H.O.I.C.E. model. It's a bespoke framework created to apply psychology and behavioral science to the customer experience. After over a decade of designing digital and physical experiences for brands like AT&T, Adidas, and McDonald's across four continents, I've battle-tested a systematic approach to applying these principles. 

The Elements of C.H.O.I.C.E.

Best in-class experience should include each one of the elements below. One might be weighted more heavily than another, depending on the brand and its touchpoints. But a leading experience implements each of these elements in some way. They are: 

  • Clear: Is your experience salient and simple for people to understand?
  • Holistic: Does your "big picture" experience set up individual interactions to succeed?
  • Open: Does your experience make it clear what's happening now, why, and what's to come?
  • Individual: Does your experience use relevant data to personalize?
  • Contextual: Does the context of your experience subtly guide customer choice?
  • Emotional: Do customers have positive emotions and memories associated with your experience?
The CHOICE model for experience design


"How should I use the C.H.O.I.C.E. model?"

C.H.O.I.C.E. lays out the components of effective experiences. You can use this model to: 

  1. Structure your thinking: Are you being asked to create a new customer experience? There's no need to start from scratch. Use C.H.O.I.C.E. to help you understand what elements to consider, which questions to ask, and how to apply specific principles to create an effective experience. 
  2. Analyze your journey to find areas for improvement: C.H.O.I.C.E. can be used as a scorecard for continuous improvement, to pinpoint problems when an experience is broken, or as an additional section on a customer journey map. Ask yourself, is our experience delivering on each of these elements?
  3. Defend strategic and design decisions to clients: You can also use C.H.O.I.C.E. for supplemental strategic support to defend UX and design decisions. For example, a pitch for a new app may have been built with best-practice, but not driven by a behavioral science strategy. This model can help you support best-practice design principles with scientific reasoning, to create a stronger overall idea. 

To learn more about the C.H.O.I.C.E. model:

You can read more about the behavioral science principles behind choice in my book (and audiobook) Choice Hacking: How to use psychology and behavioral science to create an experience that sings. Click here to download the first chapter for free.